Zephyrhills voters return incumbents to council seats
ZEPHYRHILLS - Two incumbent city council members retained their seats on the Zephyrhills City Council in unofficial election returns Tuesday night. Kent Compton defeated political newcomer Rose Hale to keep Seat 3 on the council with about 64 percent of the vote. Lance Smith withstood a challenge from former city council member Manny Funes, receiving about 68 percent of the vote. The mayor position was unopposed and will be filled by the sole candidate, former city council member Danny Burgess. Both candidates focused on economic issues and the creation of jobs. The councilmen also pledged to keep taxes low.Compton, 48, said the city is seeking to create jobs through investments in the Zephyrhills chamber, Main Street and the Pasco Economic Development Council. “These entities have been allocated unprecedented funding in exchange for services to market the city, develop incentives to existing and new businesses, and provide a coalition of local and regional leadership working toward the same goal of job creation in Zephyrhills,” he said. Smith, 50, said the council should continue with economic development plans with the chamber, Main Street, and the Pasco Economic Development Council, including measures to increase business retention and job creation. He also listed these transportation projects as priorities: County Road 54E and U.S. 301; County Road 54 east to 20th Street; and extending State Road 56 to U.S. 301. “I would first look to our city becoming more efficient in the delivery of services and maintaining the tax current millage rate before looking at increases in any taxes,” Smith said. Both incumbents supported the reopening of the former Pasco-owned Hercules Park public pool. Compton said the park provided an essential service because for many residents it is their only option for swimming. He added that Hercules Park could be a location for a vocational school in the future. Smith said he supported the city assisting in getting the pool operational again. Smith said he would want to know how much the anticipated shortfall would be, and would also attempt to partner with the YMCA to possibly operate the facility. “I am very concerned with what is going to happen with the Hercules Park,” he said. Zephyrhills voters also approved three referendums: to extend the terms of the mayor and council members from two to three years; another referendum allows the council’s vice president to preside over meetings when the president is absent. Compton was born in Washington state and moved to Florida at age 7. He has lived in Zephyrhills for 20 years. He is married to former city council member Cathi Compton. They have three children. Smith was born and raised in Zephyrhills. His family has been here since the early 1800s. He is married to Tammy Smith. They have three children. In St. Leo’s town commission election, two of the five commission seats were contested on Tuesday. In the race for commission seat 4, Robert L. Inslee defeated incumbent William Hamilton, receiving about 68 percent of the vote. In the commission seat 2 race, James W. Wells received about 70 percent of the vote, defeating Gregory P. Smith and Sean M. VanGuilder. Commissioner Robert Courtney, a retired doctor who has been on the commission since April 2009, withdrew from the race.